The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil & Gas Development on Federal Lands and Waters

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted March 19, 2012

The White House had a post up last week with some numbers on production of oil and natural gas on America’s public lands and offshore waters. They want the facts to “speak for themselves,” so let’s chart their numbers over the past six years:

The White House says:

"We know that production levels will fluctuate from year-to-year based on market conditions and industry decisions."

Of course the same is true for private lands where production levels are up.

"It also reflects the fact that the nation battled a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010."

An interesting point, given that 2010 production is the peak for oil. And it doesn’t explain the projected declines this year and next:

"Still, the overall trends show a clear picture of rising domestic production."

True if you include private lands, but on Federal?  Let’s look at the last three years part of their dataset.

Not sure “rising” means what they think it means.

Note:  An earlier version of the first and third charts above showed oil production as “billions” not “millions,”  we regret the error.  Sharp readers have also noted that the some of the numbers do not appear to match with EIA reports.  For this post we were just charting the data in the White House blog post mentioned.  We didn’t want to change the White House numbers lest we appear to be skewing their analysis to fit our commentary.


Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.